eCall - saving lives through in-vehicle communication technology
In the near future, your car will have an electronic safety system automatically calling emergency services in case of a serious accident. Even if you are unconscious, the system will inform rescue workers of the crash site's exact whereabouts, and the rescues will be on its way within minutes. The system, which has been baptised "eCall", is going to work all over the European Union. It will soon be rolled out across the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
As soon as the eCall device in your car senses a severe impact in an accident, it automatically initiates a 112 emergency call to the nearest emergency centre and transmits it the exact geographic location of the accident scene and other data. With the same effect, eCalls can also be made manually, at the push of a button. This is convenient if, for instance, you become witness of an accident. Whether the call is made manually or automatically, there will always be a voice connection between the vehicle and the emergency call centre in addition to the automatic data link. This way, any car occupant capable of answering questions can provide the call centre with additional details of the accident.
how eCall can help
Action to reduce death figures and injuries on Europe's roads is urgently needed! In 2009, about 35,000 people were killed and 1.5 million injured in about 1.15 million traffic accidents on the EU's road network alone.
Getting an immediate alert in the event of an accident and knowing the exact location of the crash site cuts emergency services' response time by 50% in rural and 40% in urban areas. Thanks to this gain in time, eCall is expected to save several hundred lives in the European Union each year, and to mitigate the severity of tens of thousands of injuries. eCall will also result in faster treatment of injured people, thereby giving accident victims better recovery prospects. Arriving at the accident scene sooner will also allow faster clearance of crash sites, thus reducing the risk of secondary accidents, decreasing congestion times,
cutting fuel waste and lowering CO2 emissions.
In hard financial terms, the EU's economic loss caused by road accidents amounts to more than €160 billion per year. If all cars were equipped with the eCall system, up to €20 billion could be saved annually.